When we began our business in 2005, the idea of ethically or responsibly sourcing gemstones was in its infancy. A gemstone tracked from mine to market, transparent and fair with social and environmental considerations was almost unheard of. The movie Blood Diamond, famious for exposing the horrors of diamond exploitation in Africa was not yet released and gemstone mining comunities all over the world were being harmed. The jewellery industries inaction was heatbreaking and we refused to to be complicit.
For the first few years we mainly used recycled gemstones as we struggled to find suppliers in Australia who could provide accurate information about where their coloured gemstones came from, let alone what impact the mining and trading may have caused. Unfortunately, much of the gem and diamond industry is still chaotic, some purposeful to cover up issues like child labour, and environmental degradation some just due to the dislocated nature of small-scale gem mining. Using recycled gems alone was never going to be the answer but with no guidance from the jewellery industry it was up to us to find a responsible path forward. The income generated from gems and diamonds can be essential for remote comunities, it can increase standards of living and education which in turn reduces hunger and poverty. Jewellery sales can provide wide reaching benifits however, there can be people and businesses in the supply chain who can take advantage.
Thankfully today, with over 15 years experience we have many thoughtful miners and suppliers here in Australia and all over the world, who like us strive for a fairer and more just world. We try to purchase as direct as possible to the mine, from miners or gem cutters as both sources have reliable information about the gem’s origin and it ensures the highest financial returns for the miners and cutters. It gives us a chance to talk with the people on the ground about the conditions, both environmental and social. We also work with a select group of responsible gem suppliers, who themselves work directly with miners and gem cutters. This way we have unbroken custody chains right back to the place the gem was taken from the earth.
Diamond and gemstone miners work hard and they deserve to be paid fairly for the beautiful crystals and rocks they provide for us to enjoy. Through knowledge and care it can be a symbiotic relationship where we all prosper in the joy gemstones bring.